I was lucky enough to be able to get to EPCOT’s 20th Food & Wine Festival this year. It was just for a quick weekend, but I got to enjoy it just the same. I had planning all set, so I knew what to look for and how to pace myself.
Here is the start of this year’s rundown. I’m breaking each day into its own post. Otherwise this would be an incredibly long article.
Friday was a short day for Food & Wine as we landed in the early afternoon, and wasn’t able to get to EPCOT till late afternoon. Add to that a (very) late dinner over at Morimoto Asia left only a few booths available for tasting. Even so we managed to squeeze in 4 booths and 9 different entrees and desserts.
Started the afternoon by getting a lay of the booths, and the 2015 Passport. Always make sure you have your passport when traveling the world. Especially at Food and Wine as it’s the easiest way to keep track of where you’ve been, what you’ve had, and what you want to eat and drink (unless you have my spreadsheet of course). And this year it’s even more important to have your passport if you are an Annual Pass ticket holder… but more on that on Day 3.
Ratings are on a 0 – 5 scale.
0 – Terrible / Spit out 1 – Bad / Below Expectations 2 – Average / What you’d find in a standard restaurant
3 – Good / Above Expectations 4 – Very Good / Very little would change 5 – Exceptional
• $4.75 – Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon [3.5]
• $4.75 – Haggis with neeps and tatties [3.5]
• $3.25 – The Tipsy Laird 
• $9.00 – Citrus Thistle featuring Hendrick’s Gin 
The scallop was cooked perfectly sitting on a bead of garlicky creamy spinach and topped with bacon. I’m usually not a fan of creamed (style) spinach, but this was fairly good. The scallop was tender and not over cooked. Which, given the quantities they were cooking, was a pleasant surprise.
The haggis wasn’t bad (or what I expected). More like a oaty hash. It was served with this sorta potato like mash. It was pretty good overall, but that could have been due to my low expectations for the dish going into it.
The tipsy lard was a oaty desert cake soaked in whisky. Pretty light, very tasty, good finish to the heavier entrees. The citrus thistle was much more refreshing that I originally expected. The light grapefruit drink offset the heavier taste of gin. All garnished with some basil to give it a nice balance. The Citrus Thistle was ranked a “Best of the Fest” by Disney Food Blog.
• $4.75 – Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips 
• $4.00 – Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole® Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise [3.5]
• $3.50 – Kona Brewing Company, Pipeline Porter 
• $3.50 – Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine [1.5]
This was not my first trip to the Hawai’i booth. I throughly enjoyed the Tuna Poke, and specifically came back for it on this trip. The fish was fresh and the seaweed salad was light and refreshing, not heavy like some restaurants make it. Only misstep I thought was the shredded seaweed toping. Made the palette too dry, although definitely gave it that sushi roll taste.
The Kālua pork slider was pretty good. Not overly seasoned and kept light with the pineapple chutney. Didn’t taste overly sweet. Refreshing and easily could have eaten a couple more of these.
The Pipeline Porter I’ve also had before. It’s basically a coffee Guinness. Rich, full-bodied, coffee throughout, but still a decent “heavy” beer. On the other side was the Sweet Pineapple Wine which I did not care for at all. Was harsh, and didn’t let the natural sweetness of the pineapple through.
• $7.50 – Pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve ice cream with Bacardí® Coconut Rum 
One of the few items that was purchased, that wasn’t going to be shared. It wasn’t bad… Which considering this is Dolewhip with alcohol is a bit of a let down.
It’s possible that this reaction was due to it having regular rum instead of the dark rum as I’ve seen in some other posts. Or could have been due to me not being a huge fan of coconut. None the less, I think I’ll stick to my traditional DoleWhip instead. Or maybe bring my own favorite alcohol in little bottles to spice it up myself.
• $7.50 – “Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce [4.5]
• $4.50 – Chicken sausage with creamy polenta and Minus 8 onion jam 
• $4.25 – Canadian cheddar cheese soup 
• $6.00 – Inniskillin Vidal Icewine 
• $6.00 – Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine 
Canada is tied for Top Booth this year for me. And it also has one of my Top 5 food items – The filet mignon.
I’m often not a fan of filet mignon, claiming the only thing a restaurant can do is screw it up. Much prefer the NY Strip, or flank steak. It’s already so tender and flavorful, only way to go is down, right? Wrong. The buttery truffle sauce on top of the mushrooms only accentuated a perfect (well almost) cooked piece of steak. I’d prefer it a little bit more rare, but that’s starting to nit pick. It is one of the more expensive items that can be bought, but since it didn’t require a reservation at Le Cellier, I can forgive that.
The Chicken sausage… well let’s say it’s much more tasty than it looks. Very much so in fact. To describe it visually, would be unappetizing. However the flavors were very good. Little spicy, little crisp on the outside, tender inside. And the polenta and “Minus 8 Onion Jam” all helped round out a very delicious dish. I was pleasantly surprised at the taste. If only it could look better…
And of course the classic stand by the cheddar cheese soup. Even on a warm day this is good. Not overly cheesey, nor to soupy. Perfect balance of cheese and beer in a convent travel bowl.
Also had both ice wines. Not a shock that they were delicious. Ice wines rarely are bad, although they are usually best enjoyed in smaller amounts. I proffered the Inniskillin over the Apple one, but both were very tasty.
For the evening, we jumped over to the recently opened Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs across from Raglan Road. I managed to snag a reservation shortly after they opened. This takes the location where the old Mannequins club stood in Downtown Disney.
Morimoto is very much a Pan Asian cuisine. The decor and music was very much something I’d expect out of a Kill Bill movie. You are greeted by women wearing traditional red Mandarin Chinese qipao dresses. And then you are brought into an over the top dinning area, with huge hanging glass chandeliers.
Pictures hang on the walls of many different people. I wasn’t sure if they were Morimoto’s family, or just random people. The oddest thing was that there were pictures even in the bathrooms. Men’s portrait images cover the women’s walls, and women on the men’s. I very much was tempted to take a picture, but felt odd doing so in a bathroom.
Overall the entire decor of the return is very much chic. We dined on the main floor, but for those that just want sushi the second floor houses a sushi bar that is open later than the rest of the restaurant.
But I wasn’t here to look around (although sadly the man himself wasn’t in that night). I was here for the food!
We started out our meal with the Tuna Pizza, Rock Shrimp Tempora, and a Spicy Tuna Roll. The Tuna Pizza was quite interesting. The crust was akin to the Indian Papadum (very thin, airy, crunchy bread). There was a light ajoli, and the jalapeno on the pizza were a bit of a surprise but gave a nice little kick to it (and were big enough to pick off if you didn’t want the extra heat). The tuna was incredibly good, thinly sliced and melted in your mouth. The Rock Shrimp Tempora was basically tempura popcorn shrimp cover in this garlic asian mayo type sauce. It kept it’s crunch and was quite delicious.
The Spicy tuna roll was the one that surprised me the most. I’ve never had a spicy roll I’ve enjoyed. They are always covered up in a ton of mayo spicy stuff that puts me off. This house was just lightly coated in it, and didn’t distract from the tuna. And the tuna itself was chopped up in a way that just let it melt in your mouth. I don’t think I’ll be eating spicy tuna rolls at my local place, but I will definitely when I come back.
For the entree did the Morimoto Signature 24 hour Marinated Peking Duck Platter. This is enough for 2 people. Although I’ve read it’s enough for 4… but they must be very light eaters, or they loaded up on appetizers. You get basically a whole duck that they’ve cooked for 24 hours. You get the light and dark meat, along with some ever so delicious crispy skin.
It’s also served with some steamed flour pancakes, slivers of radish and cucumber, and two sauces – an apricot sweet chili, and a hoisin miso sauce. When they serve it, your server will instruct you in the proper way to eat it: Place some sauce on the rice pancake, add some duck on top, add some radish and cucumber, and roll up to eat. Took a few tries to get the proportions right, but I was up to trying again… and again… again… The only down side is that the duck is so rich that although I wasn’t full, it was very filling. An odd feeling for sure.
Dessert was the Chocolate Cream and Crunch. It had a light citrus gelatinous marmalade layer hiding a rich chocolate mouse underneath. On top of that was a dark chocolate gelato sitting on hazelnut chocolate crunches. On the side were two tempura fried Oreo’s.
Oddly the Oreos helped cut down the sweetness of this dish. The marmalade was very creamy and light, and the chocolate was equally strong, but was overall a very sweet dish. It also had edible flowers to make it pretty. They didn’t really add any flavor. If I was more into chocolate I think this would have been a perfect dish. The marmalade fruitiness balanced off the richness of the chocolate very well. Although I do wish it came with a couple more of those Oreos. Delicious.
All in all, a great restaurant that I was quite surprise was as empty as it was when we were done. It could be due to it being so late at the night, that it’s not yet in the Disney Dinning reservation system (I used Open Table to book my reservation), or just so new, that the word hasn’t gotten out yet. Then again we did have to wait 30 minutes to get in… Either way once it’s in full swing I expect this place to be hard to get into.
Next up will be day 2, which has the majority of food as we spent all day at EPCOT sampling the booths.